Currently, ADRA is helping 150 albino children in Tanzania with books, hats, uniforms, and school fees. However, the need is much greater. Individuals living with albinism lack the dark pigment melanin in their skin. This leaves them with no protection from the sun's ultraviolet radiation. In addition, the lack of pigment in the iris of the eyes leads to many vision problems. ADRA is working to ensure that albinos receive skin creams, protective clothing and hats, sunglasses, and magnifying glasses for reading.
Albinos in Tanzania also suffer from constant verbal and physical abuse. Because of the constant threats, many albinos keep themselves hidden.
"Mary is my third child," says Happiness, who lives in Tanzania. "It was a shock to our family when she was born albino." "Mary's father abandoned our family and never returned," Happiness shares. "His family also abandoned us. While she was growing up, our neighbors verbally abused all of us for having an albino child in our home.
"Knowing that people are hunting albinos in Tanzania, I have always prayed for Mary's safety," says Happiness. "When Mary was 5, I married another man, and everything was good until he started listening to the witch doctors."
"When I was 15 years old and in the seventh grade, my stepfather violated me," Mary says with quiet sadness. "He believed the witch doctor when he was told that sleeping with an albino girl would make him rich. When my mother found out, she was very upset and threw him out.
"After that, I was afraid. I did not want to leave my house. Later that year, I learned of a special school for albinos where we can learn in safety and no one will bother us," Mary says. "ADRA is helping me attend this school."
ADRA has begun the SAFE project-Support Albinos Through Financial Empowerment. This project focuses on educating albino children; providing medical assistance to help the eyes and skin of albinos of all ages; advocating for the protection of albinos in communities and local governments; and creating literacy programs, business skills training, and savings and loan groups for adults living with albinism.
Last October, ADRA came to my village," William, a 41-year-old albino, says. "Before ADRA arrived, my life was very difficult… I never thought that I would be able to have a business or obtain a loan. ADRA has taught me to read and count. They opened my mind to the ideas of ownership, sustainability, and accountability… ADRA has taught me that I, an albino, can take care of my family. That I can change my life! I am able to send my children to school and feed them. I have learned to plant a vegetable garden and to use the manure from the animals as fertilizer for the garden and the banana trees. I can now take care of myself and stay healthy," shared William.
We are providing the necessary building blocks for individuals such as William to work hard and change their lives and the lives of the children who depend on them. Will you join us by sending your gift today?